SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 20 (Ticker) --
This time, Mike Bibby
the Sacramento Kings made sure there would be no fourth-quarter
magic for the Los Angeles Lakers.
had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Bibby had seven
of his 20 points -- including a clutch 3-pointer in the final
period -- as the Kings evened their best-of-seven Western
Conference finals series against the Lakers at one game apiece,
With the victory, the Kings snapped the Lakers' NBA
playoff-record road winning streak at 12 games. Los Angeles,
which had multiple double-digit comebacks over San Antonio in
the conference semifinals, had not lost on the road in the
postseason since Game Five of the NBA Finals to Indiana on June
In this one, after Doug Christie
made a free throw to give the
Kings their largest advantage, 89-74, with 6:46 remaining, the
Lakers chipped away, climbing within 89-82 on a pair of free
throws by Rick Fox
with 3:39 left.
Defensive genius Doug Christie filled up the stat sheet on both ends of the court.|
But Bibby countered with a 3-pointer over Kobe Bryant
shot clock was winding down with 2:51 to go to restore the
Kings' double-digit edge, and the Lakers got no closer than
93-90 on a shot from the arc by Bryant with 12 seconds left.
"I was gonna try to get to the basket but I looked up and there
was only four seconds and it wasn't really in my hands, so I
just threw it up," Bibby said. "Thank God it went in."
Webber made 1-of-2 free throws to give the Kings a four-point
cushion with 11 seconds remaining, and after Fox missed a
3-pointer, Bobby Jackson
made a pair at the line to close out
"Obviously it's just a huge win for us," Kings coach Rick
Adelman said. "We had to win this game. After losing the first
one, we did not want to go to Los Angeles down two games."
Jackson tallied 17 points, Vlade Divac
15 and 14 rebounds and
Christie 13 points for Sacramento, which shot only 44 percent
(33-of-75) but limited Los Angeles to 40 percent (36-of-89).
"We knew this game was a must-win for us," Jackson said. "We
played well up until the last four or five minutes of the game,
then we couldn't make a shot. Luckily, we had a big lead."
Sacramento shot 58 percent from the arc (7-of-12), while Los
Angeles connected on just 3-of-19 (16 percent).
"They took it to us tonight with energy," Lakers coach Phil
Jackson said. "We had opportunities down the stretch. We had
trouble in the fourth quarter. Our shooting wasn't good tonight.
We didn't shoot well from the 3-point line."
dominated inside, registering 35 points and 12
rebounds, and Bryant added 22 points, but the Lakers' 1-2 punch
got little help from their teammates. Fox scored 10 points
but was the only other player to reach double figures.
"We feel good about the game," O'Neal said. "Those who know and
understand the game know what really went on. ... In order to
beat us, you have to have to beat us fair and square. There is
only one way to beat us, it starts with a C and ends with a T
(cheat). We feel good about what went on tonight."
Bryant, who became ill after eating a bacon cheeseburger and a
slice of cheesecake at his hotel Sunday night, was given
intravenous fluids Monday morning and missed the team's
shootaround. But he started the game and was sharp early,
scoring nine points in the opening quarter as the Lakers took a
Bryant began the second quarter on the bench, but the Kings
opened the period on an 8-0 run, prompting Phil Jackson to
re-insert the All-Star guard. O'Neal then took over, scoring 15
of his team's next 17 points to take a 43-42 edge.
"In certain spurts I had a lot of energy, and in some I didn't,"
Bryant said. "I just tried to pace myself for three quarters
and then hopefully we'd get within striking distance, and then
(with) the energy I saved up, I'd be able to put it all out when
the game is one the line. But unfortunately we weren't able to
get it to that point."
After Bryant hit a jumper to give the Lakers a 50-47 advantage,
, starting once again for the injured Peja
, made a jump shot -- his first basket of the series
-- and followed his own missed free throw with an off-balance
jumper to give the Kings the lead for good, 51-50, with 27
seconds left in the half.
Divac then sank 1-of-2 free throws to make it 52-50 entering
Neither team shot well from the line. The Lakers made 15-of-25,
including just 5-of-11 from O'Neal, and the Kings converted
23-of-38. Webber had an abysmal night at the stripe, connecting
on only 2-of-11 attempts.
"I remember missing three on the back rim and two in and out, so
I said to myself, 'What's going on? You haven't shot this bad
since you were a bad shooter,'" Webber said. "I'll hit the gym
tomorrow and see if I can get my stroke back and we'll see what
happens. If we would have lost this game I wouldn't have been
able to live with myself."
Game 3 is Friday in Los Angeles.
"We have three days to get ready," Adelman said. "The next game
is going to be totally different than this one. Now we have to
go to L.A. and win a game."